10/14/09 — Pikeville residents share their thoughts on alcohol at forum

View Archive

Pikeville residents share their thoughts on alcohol at forum

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 14, 2009 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- About 20 people showed up Tuesday night for the first beer and wine sales forum in Pikeville to weigh in on the resolution on November's ballot.

Voters will have three options on the ballot: to vote for or against permitting off-premises sales only of malt beverages; to vote for or against permitting on-premises sales of malt beverages by Class A hotels, motels and restaurants only and to permit off-premises sales; and to vote for or against permitting on-premises sales and off-premises sales of unfortified wine.

Off-premises sales refers to buying alcohol at a convenience store or grocery store. Malt beverages refers to beer, and unfortified wine refers to wines with a lower alcohol content.

Although the ballot provides for several options when it comes to possibly selling alcohol in Pikeville, the crowd at the forum seemed to be either for it or against it, regardless of the various alternatives.

Mayor Herb Sieger provided those in attendance with a list of several reasons why he supports the sale of alcohol in Pikeville, most of which centered around the possibility it would reduce taxes. At the end of the list in all capital letters he wrote:

"It's your choice. You pay the higher taxes or vote to sell beer and wine."

He also said that the local Food Lion estimates allowing the sale of beer and wine would increase its business by about $20,000 per week.

Resident Johnny Weaver, who is also running for mayor, didn't outright say he was against the sales of alcohol in Pikeville, but said he doesn't want to become like nearby towns that now sell alcohol. He also chided the board for putting the resolution on the ballot again.

"The people said three times in the past 10 years whether they want beer and wine," he said. "If the community doesn't want something, I'm not going to keep putting it out there until we get the outcome we want."

Commissioner Edith McClenny said she wanted to make sure people have all the facts before voting, but added,

"I'd like to see our town grow, but I'm not sure beer and wine is a good thing," she said.

Town resident Regina Wassenhove, who is also running for commissioner, said she is concerned alcohol sales might change the town.

"I think we have a nice town, and I'd like to keep it that way," she said.

Sieger reiterated at the meeting that the resolution does not allow a saloon, bar or liquor store to be built in town.

Resident Thomas Evans added he is concerned selling alcohol would encourage unsavory behavior in town.

"I'm just wondering about safety," he said. "I (have) grandkids. I don't want to get no ways close to how Fremont is."